The artwork of Portland Public Schools students is among the creative work of Maine students now being showcased at the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) during annual Youth Art Month. The exhibition, featuring more than 90 works of art from K-12 students throughout the state, is on view starting today, March 1, through April 2, 2017.
Youth Art Month is an observance each March to emphasize the value of art education and to encourage public support for quality school art programs. Art education provides students with important critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, in addition to fostering self-esteem, self-discipline and an appreciation for the work of others.
“It’s always a great show,” said Chad Hart, an art teacher at Riverton Elementary School and the Portland Public Schools’ art coordinator. “It shows the array and scope of student work in our district, from elementary school to high school.”
The student work also is reflective of the teaching talent of the district’s art teachers, Hart said. He said each teacher supports and fosters student creativity in a unique way. “We are very lucky to have such a great group of art teachers here,” he said.
The PPS students participating this year and their art teachers include:
• Nora Barnes, grade 3, Peaks Island Elementary School. Teacher: Allison Villani
• Grace Connolly, grade 11, Deering High School. Teacher: Audrey Rolfe
• Kayla Droge, grade 2, Lyseth Elementary School. Teacher: Ellen Handelman
• Dshamilja Hoerschelmann, grade 9, Portland High School. Teacher: Heather Gilbert
• Theo Horn, grade 5, Reiche Community School. Teacher: Allison Villani
• Gus King, grade 3, Ocean Avenue Elementary School. Teacher: Sally Mitchell
• Sakara Pullen, grade 10, Portland High School. Teacher: Barbara Loring
• Lucy Ricker, grade 5, Presumpscot Elementary School. Teacher: Anne Townsend
• Collin Roe, grade 12, Portland Arts & Technology High School (PATHS). Teacher: Diane Manzi
• Yasmeen Tum, grade 11, Deering High School. Teacher: Kathryn Roberston
• Alma Wallace, grade 3, Longfellow Elementary School. Teacher: Emily Serway
Youth Art Month has been observed nationally since 1961, and in Maine since 1980, where it’s sponsored by the Maine Art Education Association. The show includes work from students throughout Maine in grades K-12. The PMA and the Maine Art Education Association have collaborated on this exhibition for 23 years.
Youth Art Month emphasizes Maine’s educational institutions and how they help mold the next generations of the state’s artists. But while Youth Art Month provides significant encouragement to students and well-deserved recognition for educators, the exhibition is for more than just the participating students and their families and teachers – it is for the entire community to discover the emerging voices of Maine’s youth and to recognize the immense value of arts education in our schools.
All participating students will receive certificates of recognition at an exhibition reception on Saturday, March 11, from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This event caps off a PMA Family Day called “Making Together,” which goes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes art- making activities, gallery games, and more. Artists featured in the Youth Art Month exhibit and their families get into the PMA for free on March 11. Children ages 14 and under always enjoy free admission to the PMA.
Artists and their artwork: (Above) Grace Connolly, "Silvia Rivera"
(Below) Gus King, "Eagle"; Dshamilja Hoerschelmann, "Saltwater Sailing"; Kayla Droge (house scene); Lucy Ricker, “Georgia O'Keeffe Dia de los Muertos Artist Sculpture”; Collin Roe (octopus figure); Alma Wallace (underwater scene); Yasmeen Tum (lifeboat scene; untitled); and Sakara Pullen, "Roses" (portrait)